Ah, Pepsi. It’s not quite The Real Thing, but it’s everywhere anyway. Some people inexplicably prefer it to Coke, but we don’t understand those people.
And so it is with the top division of Icelandic football, the “Pepsi-deildin,” or “Pepsi League.” While the rest of the footballing world (Coke, in this floundering metaphor) goes on summer vacation, there isn’t much for Iceland’s Premier League-obsessed football fans to drink (watch) except tumbleweed, transfer news, a few international games, and—if they get really desperate—some other weird sport like baseball.
Iceland’s Pepsi League, however, runs from May to September. This is because, for most of Iceland’s year, it’s winter. If it isn’t winter, it’s usually some kind of weird hailstone tornado that occasionally changes to a vicious rainstorm or a short burst of sunshine when everybody runs outside in shorts for five minutes then runs inside screaming when the hail begins again.
Seizing this golden annual opportunity to have something resembling a domestic football league, twelve teams—largely from the different municipalities of Reykjavík, with a couple of exceptions—play home and away fixtures, battling to hold the honour of being Iceland’s top club side.
If you’re new to the sporting snow globe of Icelandic football and looking for a team to support, the top choices would be pretty obvious. 2018 champions Valur are the downtown Reykjavík team, with a 1,524-capacity ground next to the domestic airport. Think of them as the Liverpool of Iceland. Their biggest rivals are KR, just up the hill in Vesturbær—think of them as Manchester Utd. There are also teams from Garðabær, Kópavogur and Hafnarfjörður that you could opt for, but if you’re going for an outsider, ÍBV—The Westman Islands side—is your best bet. I mean, they play on an active volcanic island in a badass ground with 534 seats.
Whoever you opt for, you can follow the tears, drama, goals, glory, air kicks and freak winds of the 2019 Pepsi League in this new regular column. Welcome to the thunderdome, people.
Read more about Icelandic Football here.
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